Getting into winter, there are abundant of lemons around. This is the time of the year when I have more lemons than I can chew. S mom has a very productive lemon tree and she gave them to us whenever we saw her.
There are a number of lemon recipes we love. Our most favourite lemon recipe is lemon tart. Lemon tart can be made in few different ways, bake or no-bake, butter or cream to emulsify and set the tart. All produce good results. Well, hardly anything can go wrong with lemon tart.
I made the tart using the recipe from Michel Roux’s fabulous Eggs cookbook. I never thought that a cookbook with egg theme could contain such wide variety of recipes, from pastry, ice cream, dessert, to pasta. It is a humble and simple ingredient with endless possibilities.
This recipe contained a lot of eggs and lemons, which made it nicely rich and tangy. The acidity of lemon works extremely well with the rich curd and buttery shortcrust pastry. It made a perfect elegant dessert. I made the tart when we had dinner party few weeks ago and it was a hit. In fact, I haven’t come across anyone who don’t like lemon tart. It is one heavenly tart. Every time I think about this tart, it made my mouth watered.
This tart will taste better if you make it in advance (which is perfect for dinner party, less to do on the day).
If you don't want to caramelise sugar with the blowtorch, you can simply dust the top with icing sugar.
I found the recipe contains too much filling. I had left-over lemon curd filling which was made into one lemon creme brulee successfully.
Lemon Tart Recipe
Adapted from Michel Roux's Egg cookbook
Serve 6 -8
350g pate sucree (sweet shortcrust pastry), recipe below
eggwash (1 medium egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp of milk)
5 unwaxed lemons, washed.
9 medium eggs
375g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
300ml thickened cream (whipping cream, 35% fat), lightly whipped
30g sugar, to glaze the tart
Roll out the tart dough (recipe follows) to a circle, about 3-mm thick, and use it to line a greased 20-cm, 4cm deep tart ring or 24-cm loose-bottom tart pan. Chill for 20 mins (to get less shrinkage during baking, I freeze the tart case for 15 mins).
Preheat the oven to 180c (convection oven). Prick the pasty base lightly with forks. Bake the pastry shell blind (puting beans, uncooked rice or pastry weight onto baking paper), for 20 mins. Remove the beans/pastry weight and paper and cook the pastry shell for another 15 mins. Lower the oven setting to 170c (convection oven). Let the pastry shell cool slightly, then brush the inside with eggwash and return to the oven for 5 mins.
For the filling, finely grate the zest from the lemons and set aside, then squeeze the juice and strain the pulps and seeds out. Combine the eggs and sugar together in a bowl, stirring as you go. Finally, gently fold in the whipped cream; do not overwork the mixture. Cover and chill for about 30 mins.
To cook the lemon tart, heat the oven to 150c (convection oven). Lightly beat the cold lemon cream with a spatula, pour into the pastry shell, and bake at once for 1 hour 20 minutes.
Let the tart cool and firm up for a while before removing the ring (or remove from the tart tin) but do so when the tart is still slightly warm. Set aside until cold. (You can prepare the tart up to 24 hours ahead.
Just before serving, dust the surface with half of sugar and caramelize it with a cook's blowtorch. Repeat with the remaining sugar and serve at once. Cut the tart carefully with a sharp knife; as the caramelised surface is very delicate.
Pate Sucree (sweet shortcrust pastry) recipe
170g plain flour (all-purpose flour)
70g butter, cubed and slightly softened
70g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
Put the flour in a mound on a counter (ideally marble) and make a well. Put in the butter, icing sugar and salt and mix together with your fingertips (you can also process all ingredients in a food processor).
Gradually draw the flour into the center and mix with your fingertips until the dough becomes slightly grainy.
Again, make a well and add the eggs. Work them into the flour mixture, using your fingertips, until the dough begins to hold together.
When the dough is well amalgamated, knead it a few times with the palm of your hand until smooth. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and rest in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, before using. (this dough need a longer refrigeration as it's quite soft) It's easier to work with when the dough is well-chilled and very firm.